Saturday, 28 May 2011


SATURDAY 12th MAY 2011

Clickable map and most of the photos too!

With the rain hammering down for most of the night, the rivers were full to the brim this morning, roaring like trains. The clouds were shrouding the hills and there were fierce little gusts down in the valley, so who knows what it would be like on the intended fair-weather route for today; the north Mullardoch Munros.
This gave us a bit of a dilemma: If the rivers were really in spate, our foul weather route might also be a bit dodgy, as there are a few biggies flowing into Loch Mullardoch. I knew that the first one had a bridge above the hut at Glen Cannich but my recollection of that bridge was that it was a skinny slippery narrow timber job with no handrail above a rocky gorge with a torrent; not a good prospect for a bloke with a very dodgy head for heights in a strong wind!
Perhaps a better option would be to skip over the low bealach north of Mam Ruisgte and head for Glen Strathfarrar, Struy and then on to Drumnadrochit? We would see what the river was like a few miles to the east and besides, the rain was easing, so perhaps by the time we got to the nasty crossings on Mullardoch, if the rain held off, the levels might be dropping? Andy, Lilo, Robert & me set off into a blustery day.
This was what presented itself at our first crossing after about an hour…

Allt Coire nan Each

We followed it upstream until it became more manageable. Here’s Andy striding across at the good bit.
 Walker on Water

You will see from the map that we opted to risk Mullardoch as the rain was still holding off, and here Lilo left us to do his route to Struy. That just left Andy, Robert and me. The next few pictures tell the story themselves; a blustery day with little stormlets chasing us all the way down to the north shore of Mullardoch.

Robert & Andy above Loch Mhoicean

Mullardoch looking east
Halfway along Mullardoch there is a ruin and here we caught up with Carl, who was just setting off having had a breather. He had started at Dornie and we played tag with him for the rest of the afternoon.
The second half of Mullardoch
With a huge sense of relief, when we reached the dodgy bridge of death we saw that it had been replaced with a new, wide, solid looking bridge, so the impending doom just vanished away. We bumped into Brian Shepherd who had managed a crafty camp on the hut’s veranda. Brian was a bit fed up with Mullardoch – it does seem to go on forever! But we stalwarts crashed on for another 5km to the next big crossing – but we didn’t find a bridge for this one so waded it below the falls.
Wading the Allt Taige

The three of us were joined by Carl and we camped in a fine little bog just above a sheltering stand of pines half a mile past the Allt Taige; it has to be said, quite knackered!
At this point Andy discovered that Wendy – his Warmilte 2R – had applied for planning permission for a basement and indeed had already started the excavations through her groundsheet. Andy was very stoical about it all and took her firmly in hand and beasted her with duct tape, sticking plasters, NeoAir plasters and spit: None of which staunched the little spring that bubbled into his tent… It was quite a rough night as well… ooh dear!
Looking back along Mullardoch


  1. Hi Alan,
    congratulations for completing this years Challenge. I'm looking forward to the rest of your story (and those of others of course).
    A little question on the Allt Taige : the 1:25k OS map shows what looks like a natural bridge where the Allt Taige flows into Loch Mullardoch. Does it really exist or is this one of the OS flukes ?

  2. Wonderful views Alan - keep them coming. Weather doesn't look that bad, but maybe it gets worse. Looking forward to reading more.

    What's this about Roger? He can't quit now. Any idea what his plans are for the future?

  3. Good post Alan. Look forward to the next installment.

  4. Hi Theo: No, there is no natural bridge there (or FB as shown on some 1:25k maps). It's a wade.

    Philip, Mark & Swanscot: Thanks you :-)

  5. Having a vague look at routes (vague I said, don't get too excited) I remembered seeing somewhere someone tackling the north shore of Loch Mullardoch. (Be prepared for a stupid question, sit down if I were you) I know there are fordings (had a bit of practice at that recently!) but from your photographs, it looks ok underfoot otherwise?

  6. Hi Louise.

    I have walked the north shore twice now - once about ten years ago and then this year.

    There are loads of Challengers who gripe about it, but the reality is that it is fine. The thing about it is that it does seem to take ages - as it is a long reservoir.

    You follow paths for nearly the entire length - either quite well made ones or deer trods, so as long as you ease back and have a sunny outlook on life it is absolutely fine.

    There is only really one "off piste" bit, where you climb high from the ruin marked on the map, over the promontory about a third of the way along. This is a bit of a grunt up the hill side, but well worth it for the splendid view down the rest of the loch and it also cuts a lot of walking off going round by the loch shore. (see my picture)

    Underfoot it's fine - and this year it had been/was very wet. You just need to take care and try not to rush it.

    It's a fine FWA - ignore the nay-sayers!


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